THE FREE MARKET AT WORK….Over in The Corner yesterday, Jonah Goldberg spent four or five posts desperately trying to find a “practical” solution to telemarketing calls that doesn’t involve government regulation. He is “ideologically torn” here, acknowledges that “many Americans just want to make the phone stop ringing” here, continues to beg someone ? anyone! ? to provide a “politically workable solution” here, and agrees that the do-not-call registry is just another case of nanny-state-ism here.

Poor Jonah, all this angst over a minor government program that allows people to express their preference about the free market in junk telemarketing calls. You know, from watching The Sopranos I’ve learned that apparently there’s also a “market” (in New Jersey, anyway) for “bumping off” people, and it works pretty efficiently. Unfortunately, the damn feds keep interfering in this industry, causing all manner of market distortions for Tony Soprano and his business associates. Damn shame, that.

Sarcasm aside, though, there’s a serious point here and Goldberg himself realizes it:

From internet porn in libraries to spam to telemarketers, technology is exposing the ossified nature of government bureaucracy. What I’m interested in is whether or not there is a realistic political strategy for keeping Americans from demanding that the government fix these new problems. If that’s possible, then government can be shrunk over time as the society outgrows it. Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic about the project’s chances.

The fact that Goldberg even bothers writing about this shows the ridiculous lengths to which conservative ideology goes in its efforts to deny that there is any legitimate form of human decision making other than free market forces. Yesterday’s exchange is just a micro example of the bankruptcy of this view, and a rather desperate attempt to avoid the obvious conclusion that the easiest, best, and cheapest way to deal with this problem is, indeed, the ossified bureaucracy of the federal government.

(And I wonder if Goldberg knows it? A few days ago he suggested that social conservatives should just give up the fight on gay marriage, and now he’s admitting that the free market doesn’t seem to have a solution for everything. Perhaps the NRO Borg is losing its grip on him?)